A threat by Philippine militants to kill a German hostage in a show of solidarity with Islamic State is the latest sign that the Middle East group’s brand of radicalism is winning recruits in Asia and posing a growing security risk in the region.
MANILA (Reuters) – A threat by Philippine militants to kill a German hostage in a show of solidarity with Islamic State is the latest sign that the Middle East group’s brand of radicalism is winning recruits in Asia and posing a growing security risk in the region.
Over 100 people from Southeast Asia’s Muslim majority countries of Indonesia and Malaysia and the southern Philippine region are believed by security officials and analysts to have gone to join Islamic State’s fight in Iraq and Syria. Malaysian and Indonesian militants have discussed forming a 100-strong Malay-speaking unit within Islamic State in Syria, according to a report from a well-known security group released this week.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The death of a Malaysian Islamist in Syria has sparked an outpouring of eulogies on social media, including from his former political party, underlining sympathy for the militants’ cause that is creating a security headache for the government.
Lotfi Ariffin, a former activist in the Islamist PAS party that forms part of Malaysia’s opposition alliance, had attracted a large following on social media with regular posts of pictures, video and calls to jihad from the Syrian front line.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian authorities are carrying out the broadest crackdown on the political opposition and social activists since the era of strongman leader Mahathir Mohamad, as traditionalists in the long-ruling ethnic Malay party appear to gain the upper hand.
The setback for civil liberties in the multi-ethnic former British colony, which had appeared set on a path of greater openness just two years ago, comes as democracy retreats across mainland Southeast Asia following a military coup in Thailand and fading reform hopes in Myanmar and Cambodia.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian prosecutors charged a high-profile law professor with sedition on Tuesday for an opinion he voiced on a political crisis that occurred five years ago, extending a recent crackdown on dissent from opposition politicians to academia.
Lawyers said the charge against Azmi Sharom, a lecturer at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur and who writes a regular newspaper column, could have a chilling effect on freedom of speech as the government wavers on its pledges to expand civil liberties.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Suspected Malaysian militants loyal to the extremist Islamic State movement bought bomb-making material ahead of a proposed attack on a Carlsberg brewery near the capital Kuala Lumpur, a top anti-terrorism official said.
The plan, which the official said was at a “discussion” stage, would be the first time Southeast Asian militants inspired by Islamic State’s rise have sought to launch a major attack at home, adding to officials’ fears of a domestic “blowback” from Islamic State’s expansion in Syria and Iraq.
Deepa Subramaniam would not let go of her son, clinging to five-year-old Mithran’s leg even as the car into which he had been bundled began to accelerate.